Why is Preparing a Business Continuity Plan Important?
Businesses are not immune to disasters, and every business should have an emergency and disaster plan. Here are some reasons why:
- Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. (Source: Insurance Information Institute)
- Customers expect delivery of products or services on time. If there is a significant delay, customers may go to a competitor. Failure to implement a preparedness program risks losing business to competitors who can demonstrate they have a plan.
- Insurance is only a partial solution. Unfortunately, it does not cover all losses and it will not replace customers.
- Many disasters — natural or human-caused — may overwhelm the resources of even the largest public agencies. Or they may not be able to reach every facility in time. Businesses that are prepared to quickly resume service may be able to assist with community recovery.
Source: FEMA, Ready.gov/Business
If forced to close for an unlimited amount of time, costs can add up quickly for your business. We encourage you to prepare your business and employees before an event actually occurs. By planning now before an emergency, you can get back to business much more efficiently, which will help your employees, customers and the community return to normal life at a quicker pace.
Elements of a Business Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan allows you to address how you’ll manage your business’s core functions in the event of an emergency or disaster BEFORE it happens. By planning ahead, you can greatly reduce the impact that an emergency has on your business and employees.
A successful business continuity plan should do the following:
- Determine and document which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep your business operating
- Identify and document your suppliers, shippers, and other important resources
- Define and document crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance
- Plan for your building or store being inaccessible
- Plan for payroll continuity
Other important considerations:
- If your business is in a multi-tenant building or complex, it may be helpful to work together with neighboring businesses to create a continuity plan that covers all of your businesses. In discussing your businesses’ needs, you might find ways to share resources that would make recovery easier for everyone.
- Be sure to share contact information and business continuity plans with other businesses in your building or complex.
- Keep copies of important records such as lease agreements, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, etc. in multiple secure locations.
- It is a good idea to keep digital copies of these documents so that you still have access to their contents if the original paper copies are destroyed. Websites like Dropbox and Google Drive provide free or low cost online storage that allows you to access your information anywhere from any computer or mobile device.
- Include employees from all levels in planning. It is important that your plan makes sense from all perspectives, not just the managerial level. Your front line employees may be able to offer insight into your daily processes that you may not immediately think about.
- Most importantly, review and practice your plan semi-annually! Your plan will be of very little use to your business if you and your staff cannot quickly execute it during and emergency or disaster.
Other Helpful Resources
Local Emergency Alerts: Sign up for the City of North Richland Hills’s Everbridge Mass Notification System to receive a message when there is an emergency in the area around your business.
Ready.gov/Business: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides many valuable planning tools for business continuity and crisis management. Use the links below to explore some of the worksheets available to help you design a plan for your business.
- FEMA Business Continuity Guide – “Every Business Should Have a Plan”